British health service blamed for 17,000 unnecessary deaths each year

Published on January 20, 2008 at 9:04 PM · No Comments

Campaigners in Britain say the National Health Service (NHS) is responsible for 17,000 unnecessary deaths each year because of poor performance.

According to the Taxpayers' Alliance when they compared World Health Organization data for five leading European countries, the number of people who died prematurely, even though their illness was treatable, was far more in the UK.

The NHS was found to have 17,157 extra deaths in 2004 compared with France, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.

The TaxPayers' Alliance, a group which is campaigning for lower taxes, looked at "mortality amenable to healthcare" i.e. the number of deaths from certain conditions and at certain ages that healthcare can reasonably be expected to avert.

In the UK that equated to 135 per 100,000 people, compared with an average of 107 across the five countries with France having the best rate at 91.

According to the report, if that difference between the UK figure and the average was applied to the whole population, it would equate to 17,157 deaths, five times the number that die in road accidents.

The report says 'billions have been thrown at the NHS' but the additional spending has made no discernible difference to the long-term pattern of falling mortality.

It says lessons can be learned from European countries with healthcare systems which do not suffer from political management, monopolistic provision and centralisation.

Matthew Sinclair the author of the report, says thousands are dying every year thanks to Britain's health service not delivering the standards people expect and receive in other European countries.

The report recommends that NHS bodies should be given more independence from central government.

The government says investment in recent years has reduced waiting lists, improved choice and saved lives and more than 100,000 extra doctors and nurses have been provided over the last 10 years.

Critics point out that the figures on which the report is based are more than three years out of date.

Posted in: Healthcare News

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